The Health Select Committee is a cross party group of MPs who consider all issues related to health. It scrutinizes government legislation, can call for submissions and receive petitions. Currently the Health Select Committee is chaired by Labour Manurewa MP Louisa Wall.
In addition to our submission to the Health Select Committee we have also made a submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the well-being budget measures for this year’s budget, and it’s the first occasion to our knowledge that Arthritis New Zealand has presented to it.
Our submission arises from the launch of the report by Deloitte Access Economics, the Economic Cost of Arthritis in New Zealand, last year. This report provides a wealth of information and data about the prevalence and cost of arthritis in this country.
The report shows the enormous cost of arthritis, and includes direct health sector costs, indirect costs such as productivity and efficiency loss due to lost tax revenue, and informal and formal carer costs. An important addition to the research is the inclusion of the cost of loss of well-being for people with arthritis. Arthritis substantially reduces the amount of healthy years of life lived and it is interesting to note that rheumatoid arthritis contributes to a greater proportion of the loss of well-being.
In addition to our submission, we meet with individual MPs from all political parties and in the lead up to the general election next year we will be asking people with arthritis to contact their MPs with questions we will provide. It is interesting to hear from some MPs that they have never heard from anyone in their electorate who has arthritis!
Let’s change that.